How to Pray When All You Want is an Answer

Waiting is hard. Whether’s it’s waiting for test results, waiting for a child to be born, or waiting for an answer from God. It’s hard. I don’t like waiting. Yet, I know it’s good for me.



Waiting is Like Running 

Most of the time, running is my choice of exercise. I know it’s good for me. But, there are a lot of days when I can’t stand it. I know it’s good for me but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Waiting is that way. I would become the worst possible version of myself if I immediately got everything I wanted. I don’t know of anything else that has the potential to shape my character like waiting does. It’s not fun. But, it can be good for me.

Not all waiting is created equal. It’s possible to become frustrated, cynical, or even angry as you wait. A sense of despair can set in. I’ve definitely been there before. 

On the other hand, when I’m waiting well, it changes me for the better like nothing else seems to. I’ve found that waiting well is a discipline…like running. I have to be relentless in my pursuit of it.

When I’m waiting well, I pray. And as I pray, I keep these things in mind.

1. Don’t resist it. Embrace it.

When I’m forced to wait, my natural reaction is to resist it. I want to speed things up. I want to make a call to someone who can do something. I want to use every ounce of influence I’ve got to move things along. I throw my weight around.

When I’m waiting well I embrace the fact that I’m waiting, even if I don’t like it. I know it’s good for me even if it doesn’t feel good. Waiting has incredible power if I embrace it.

Many biblical characters endured significant periods of waiting. Waiting transformed them and it will transform me if I allow it to.

If I don’t embrace the wait, I’m going to miss a great opportunity to grow.

2. Praise God while you wait.

Several years ago, after a difficult loss for our family, I started disciplining myself to praise God in my prayers. Honestly, I didn’t feel like it. That’s why I had to force myself to do it. But, I discovered something important as I did this…

The more I forced myself to praise God, the more I felt like praising God.

This was powerful for me for at least three reasons…

  • It helped me see beyond my current circumstances. It gave me a better perspective.
  • It taught me to worship God regardless of what’s happening around me.
  • It taught me that my faithfulness can’t be tied to my circumstances.

3. Thank God as you wait. 

This point is similar to the previous one. But, I still think it deserves to stand alone. Think about these words…

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

We can present any request to God. But, any request can be presented with thanksgiving. 

When I’m waiting, it’s easy for everything to become tarnished. When I discipline myself to tell God “thank you,” it’s a great reminder that — regardless of the outcome of my current situation — I’m blessed.

(Click the button below and I’ll send you one of the most helpful prayer resource I’ve come across, the circle of prayer.)

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These three things have helped me. What’s helped you when you’ve been forced to wait? I’d love to hear! Leave a comment below…

  1 comment for “How to Pray When All You Want is an Answer

  1. Charlie Richards
    June 13, 2016 at 10:32 am

    These are lessons I’m going to start using in my life today . Thanks Neil.

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